LVL$ (Paul Harris)

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EndersGame
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LVL$ (Paul Harris)

Postby EndersGame » March 23rd, 2018, 8:27 am

The Vault - LVL$ (Paul Harris)

A surprising twist enhances a proven `Cards Across' classic

Overview


Las Vegas Leaper is a classic Paul Harris effect that became a staple in many professional magician's close-up sets when it was first released a couple of decades ago. It was first published in Las Vegas Close Up (1978), and later included as part of the terrific Paul Harris compilation Art of Astonishment Vol. 1 (1996). It is a clever "Cards Across" routine which can be done impromptu with normal cards. The classic Cards Across plot typically has a number of cards disappearing from one pile of cards and reappearing in a second pile, and that's effectively what happens here, but several elements really strengthen the routine. In Las Vegas Leaper, the spectator counts ten cards and puts them in their own pocket, only to discover that three cards are magically transferred to join the ten cards already in their pocket.

The effect became a huge hit in the world of magic, along with several popular variations, including Bill Malone's Leap of Faith (Art of Astonishment Vol. 1) and Paul Harris' own Big Time Las Vegas Leaper (Art of Astonishment Vol. 3). When the True Astonishment boxed set of DVDs was published by Paul Harris, it included a new take on the original effect, which added a new twist to the end of the routine: travelling money. This newer and improved routine of Las Vegas Leaper is called LVL$, and is also sometimes referred to as The New Las Vegas Leaper, and has been selected by Bro Gilbert as part of his series "The Vault".

Here's the official trailer for the effect, with some introductory remarks from The Vault with Bro Gilbert, who is also shown demonstrating parts of the routine to several spectators:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W3E_sgd6nSg

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Effect

The official ad copy does a good job of explaining what the effect involves. Effectively it's the original Paul Harris routine, with some new touches and a new twist for the ending:

You count 10 cards for you, and 10 for the spectator (who places their group in their back pocket). Pretend to magically send one through the air over to the spectator. Count them - one has VANISHED! But wait - repeat the trick two more times, each time having a card disappear! Then ask the spectator to count the cards that were in their back pocket. They now have three additional cards!

The kicker? You then count a number of dollar bills (or five's, twenty's, etc.). Pantomime sending one over to them. Repeat the count, and one is GONE! They can even hold the bills and do the counting themselves. Tell them to check their back pocket. Inside their pocket, they find the missing bill!


Is it really that good? Sure. It's worth adding that you even get the spectator to count the cards before they put them in their own pocket, thus strengthening the mystery. It's a surprise when cards seem to disappear from your own packet of 10 cards, but it's even more of a surprise when they discover that there are now 13 cards in their own pocket, especially since they counted them previously themselves!

And the added twist of doing something similar with dollar bills is even more amazing. You start with five in your hand, and then one is shown to have vanished, leaving just four. But what's that in the spectator's back pocket, which you haven't been near the entire time? The fifth banknote! WOW!

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Video

What you get for around $10 is an instant digital download of the video, which demonstrates and teaches the routine. You can play the video via streaming, or download it in *.mp4 format to view on your computer with any video program. The entire video is just under 12 minutes long, and the downloaded file is 111MB in total size.

The video consists of the following:
2 minutes: introduction & tips from Paul Harris
2 minutes: the set-up
6 minutes: the original routine
2 minutes: the twist

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Teaching

Like the other videos from the Paul Harris set Art of Astonishment, the explanation doesn't use any spoken words. Instead, there's gentle background music and all aspects of the routine are clearly and carefully shown from a top down view, with subtitled text that explains what is happening and what to do. Different camera angles are used where necessary, including close-up shots of the hands, and exposed views.

I have been pleasantly surprised how well this method of teaching works, and it even has some advantages over the traditional method of verbal instruction. It's easy to pause and replay sections, and the annotated text makes it crystal clear what part of the routine you're in. Overall, good job with the teaching!

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Difficulty

No gimmicked cards are necessary for this trick, but some sleights are necessary. The original Las Vegas Leaper part of the routine does require the ability to do a f***e c***t, and this is all covered in the explanation. It's not an advanced move, but does require an intermediate ability with cards. So while this isn't a difficult trick, it's not something ideal for a beginner either.

Adding in the new twist in which you follow up the original effect by doing something similar with banknotes ramps up the difficulty, and also makes the first part of the routine slightly harder for you. Most of all, it requires a lot of bravado. In his introductory footnotes, Paul Harris admits that the trick may seem too bold and adventurous when you first think about it. But as he advises, the moves are similar to the original routine, so you just should go out and try it!

In recent years some countries, including Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, have switched to banknotes made from polymer instead of paper. I don't know exactly how this impacts the routine; I suspect that it's still quite workable but perhaps slightly more difficult, so some small elements of the handing may need readjusting.

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Impressions

With the original Las Vegas Leaper, Paul Harris has created a true classic. If you're not familiar with that routine, picking up this video download will basically introduce you to the original effect. It is relatively easy to learn the basic routine from this video by just leaving out the final twist with the dollar bills, and anything related to that (ideally making an adjustment that eliminates the card box).

The original routine as first published was more straight-forward than the Big Time Leaper variation published in Art of Astonishment Vol 3, which has a build-up involving three phases (1. Three cards travel to spectator as 10 cards become 13; 2. This is repeated as 13 cards become 16; 3. The spectator makes more than 20 extra cards travel to the magician.). The version taught by Michael Ammar on his Easy to Master Card Miracles Vol 1 video is the Big Time Leaper variation with the third phase omitted. LVL$ uses the simpler form of the routine, which makes sense since it has its own additional kicker, involving money. Many would agree that the extra phase added with Big Time Leaper stretches the effect too far anyway, and is even anti-climactic. In that respect, by introducing banknotes the climax of LVL$ is much better than Big Time Leaper.

The additional twist and challenges resulting from making banknotes travel to your spectator does add a level of difficulty to the routine, but it also comes with a great payoff if you can make the routine work for you. Travelling cards is already a mystery, but having a banknote travel into a pocket that you have never touched seems truly, truly impossible!

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Endorsements for Las Vegas Leaper

Here's some positive feedback about the original effect, which I have gleaned from various places online:

"This routine falls into my top 5 card tricks of all time. It gets huge reactions every single time I perform it." - Oz Pearlman
"One of the best tricks by Paul Harris. It's so clever and it the reactions are crazy!" - PyroDevil
"Las Vegas Leaper" is in the repertoire of many professional performers. The effect on spectators is enormous." - Matt Field
"A totally wonderful effect. It´ll make your reputation as a very nice magician (if you perform it well)." - Per Agge
"The real strength of the effect is with the specatar. He KNOWS he's counted off 10 cards." - Blaiky
"It's one of my favorite effects and it never fails to amaze people." - DomKabala
"This trick blows spectator's away! It is the best cards across ever. It even made me scratch my head after watching it. Very deceptive and amazing." - Andrew E. Miller
"Las Vegas Leaper is the perfect way to do a cards across with minimum work."- jose8047

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Endorsements for LVL$

So what do magicians have to say about LVL$, the new version of Las Vegas Leaper? While a small minority prefers the routine without the extra twists, on the whole there is much enthusiasm for LVL$, including comments like the following:

"LVL$ does indeed surpass the original. It is a thing of beauty." - Magiguy
"This is a great improvement to an already great trick." - David Pepka
"Las Vegas Leaper is probably my favorite routine from Art of Astonishment, I can't imagine how they could make it any better! although this is Paul Harris, so I should expect great things." - salmononius2
"The new version blew [my wife's] mind. Absolutely, positively blew it. She is familiar with the basic concept and she just loved the new addition." - Lemniscate
"They've basically added a whole new phase to the end of the classic LVL that makes total sense, and provides a really powerful effect for minimal work. This ain't yo mama's cards across routine." - Kevin Reylek
"The new LV Leaper has a very creative ending it will blow the specs minds. Highly recommended." - Joemv
"Been using this every day. Always astonishes if done right." - Grant Cheezig
"If you like the original you will probably love this, with the kicker ending." - Magiguy
"The New Las Vegas Leaper has an amazing climax that will blow them away. It will seriously mess with their minds." - Patrick Gregoire

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Recommendation

Bro Gilbert is doing a great job in bringing some of these classic Paul Harris effects back into the public eye with his "The Vault" series. Many long-time magicians will already be familiar with the original Las Vegas Leaper, given how popular it was when it first appeared, but there is a new generation of young magicians who may not be familiar with it. It's a classic that you really should know about. Everyone likes the idea of having money in their pocket, so having banknotes travel to an impossible location really adds an extra layer of astonishment to an already brilliant effect.

So take a look and consider giving this a go. Anyone who does successfully add LVL$ to their reportoire is going to be set for a lot of great entertainment!

Want to learn more? Paul Harris' LVL$ is available as a digital download from your favorite Murphy's Magic retailer:
Murphy's Magic: https://www.murphysmagic.com/product.aspx?id=60810
Vanishing Inc Magic: https://www.vanishingincmagic.com/magic ... -vault-lvl

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: LVL$ (Paul Harris)

Postby Richard Kaufman » March 23rd, 2018, 11:01 am

Do us all a favor: we're adults here. Do not use asterisks in your reviews on words like false count.
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Joe Mckay
Posts: 1478
Joined: April 13th, 2008, 6:56 am
Favorite Magician: Lubor Fiedler
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Re: LVL$ (Paul Harris)

Postby Joe Mckay » March 23rd, 2018, 3:59 pm

Hey EndersGame,

What a great review! I really appreciate the time and effort you put into it.

And thanks for your flurry of contributions to the forum lately. It is great to see somebody so engaged and passionate about magic.


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